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New York saxophonist and composer Quinsin Nachoff has carved out a unique career exploring the uncharted territory between the twin worlds of jazz and classical music, in a city that is equally renowned for both. Through an array of fascinatingly diverse projects and collaborations, always pushing at the boundaries of genre, he has intrepidly explored the possibilities of combining the textural and compositional possibilities of the symphonic tradition with the passion and freedom of jazz.
Stars and Constellations features Nachoff on tenor sax with bassist Mark Helias and drummer Dan Weiss, alongside the Bergamot Quartet and The Rhythm Method string quartets.
This album showcases a seamless integration of jazz and classical players, blurring the boundaries between genres. Inspired by mythology and the cosmos, Nachoff’s compositions explore the interconnectedness of opposites, bridging the gaps between extremes. The album reflects his lifelong interest in science, drawing on collaborations with physicist Dr. Stephen Morris, and takes the listener on a compellingly unconventional musical journey.
Out now – get it on Bandcamp
Patterns From Nature
An ambitious new project, Patterns From Nature, is set to captivate audiences with a mesmerizing fusion of physics, film, and music. Physicist Stephen Morris, filmmakers Udo Prinsen, Gita Blak, Lee Hutzulak, Tina de Groot, and composer/saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff are joining forces to explore Morris’ area of research Emergent Patterns in Nature through a captivating multimedia experience.
The centerpiece of this innovative project is a four-movement, 40-minute work. Each filmmaker will delve into a specific research area within Emergent Patterns in Nature, exploring Branches, Flow, Cracks, and Ripples. Collaborating closely, the team will draw inspiration from one another’s progress into the composition and filmmaking processes.
Blending jazz and classical elements, the composition will be performed by a chamber ensemble featuring woodwinds, brass, percussion, piano, string quartet, bass, drum set, and conductor. Renowned soloists, including clarinetist François Houle, the Molinari String Quartet, pianists Matt Mitchell and Santiago Leibson, bassist Carlo De Rosa, drummer Satoshi Takeishi, trombonist Ryan Keberle, and saxophonist Quinsin Nachoff, will contribute their virtuosity to the performance.
These inspirations come together on Pivotal Arc, his 2020 release on Whirlwind Recordings, which presents his most ambitious project yet.
The album brings together virtuoso violin soloist Nathalie Bonin with a jazz-inflected unit featuring two established giants of the NY scene, bassist Mark Helias and drummer Satoshi Takeishi, alongside the stunning young vibraphone player Michael Davidson, and adds a wind and string ensemble conducted by JC Sanford. A Violin Concerto and the large ensemble titular work boldly mix written and improvised sections, interspersed with a String Quartet performed by the renowned Molinari String Quartet.
The result is three diverse long-form works that flow naturally together, demonstrating Nachoff’s equally heartfelt facility with the free-flowing language of jazz improvisation, the depth and rigour of classical composition, and the direct melodicism of folk forms.
Read about the inspirations and influences for this album in an article he wrote for the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers.
Nachoff’s canny bandleader’s knack of deploying unusual combinations of similarly boundary-defying musicians in pursuit of his vision was already evident in his remarkable band, Flux, which features the stellar talents of such sympatico artists as saxophonist David Binney, keyboardist Matt Mitchell, and drummers Kenny Wollesen and Nate Wood.
The group’s 2019 album, Path Of Totality, received worldwide acclaim for its ambitious, immersive long-form pieces, including being nominated for a 2019 Juno Award and awarded 4.5 stars in its DownBeat Magazine review, which described the record as “a stunning, deep dive of an album, the sort of music in which one could spend hours submersed.”
Nachoff commissioned six cutting edge filmmakers to create original work in response to Path of Totality.
Watch them here